BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD) – The race to secure assistance for many Louisiana residents begins as the eviction moratorium ends in just a few days.
Executive Director for the Louisiana Fair Housing Action Center Cashauna Hill said what’s happening now is the lack of rental assistance distribution.
“We did not want to hold the opening of the program until all the bells and whistles were in place, this is not something that the state has done before,” said Director of Office of Community Development Gina Campo.
Parishes with populations over 200,000 were able to apply for the federal money and create programs to allocate the money to renters, for smaller parishes the money is administered by the state.
$308 million was given to the state of Louisiana for rental assistance, but that money has been slow to reach tenants. Campo said there are more pieces to the program other than just completing an application.
“We are required to try and match that information with their landlord,” said Campo. It’s a process that can take over a week.
In a weekly updated status report provided by the state of Louisiana’s U.S. Treasury, over 9,000 applications have been submitted, and of those applications, a little over 3,000 have been approved.
“The money is there, the programs are there, there are not enough people working the programs to serve the need,“ said Hill. “People who have been able to submit the very long and burdensome application are just waiting in line.”
For those waiting, the clock is ticking.
“If we’re going to avoid a homelessness disaster this summer, all of the emergency assistance programs across the state need to massively increase the staffing and resources dedicated to this program and they need to pull on all available resources to get these rental assistance dollars out the door,” said Hill.
Renters and landlords can apply for assistance by visiting LAStateRent.com or call (877) 459-6555, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.